Central Bohemia - Labe region
When one speaks of Polabí, many people think of plains, vast stretches of virgin territory, and never-ending boredom. Polabí is certainly different, but it is not a dull expanse of flat land. Here you will find historical cities, archaeological excavations and outdoor museums, monasteries and towers, renowned spa resorts, well-preserved alluvial forests, fascinating gardens, and congress centres. Northeast of Prague you can enjoy cyclotourism, mototourism, horseback riding, golf, and boating, and you can take tours through castles, chateaux and towers…
The touristic region of Central Bohemia – northeast is located between Prague, Mělník and Poděbrady, which, as it runs against the current of the Jizera River, stretches out to Benátky nad Jizerou. Just like the other two central Bohemian regions, its interior serves as a recreational area and weekend getaway for Prague residents. With the exception of the forests around Sadská, the left bank of the Labe River is used primarily as agricultural land. From the right bank the terrain rises gradually towards the Jizera Plateau, where the forests are more abundant, especially between Brandýs nad Labem and Benátky nad Jizerou.
This part of Polabí is saturated with history. For instance, the former fortified settlement of Stará Boleslav was built on an important trade route later called Žitavská about 15 km northeast of Prague on the right bank of the Labe. It was also probably part of a system of several fortifications that the Přemysl family had built around their territory. In 929, the knight St. Václav was murdered in front of the Church of St. Kosma and Damian. In Brandýs you will also find an enchanting chateau where, in 1813, an historical meeting took place between three rulers: the Austrian emperor František I, the Russian tsar Alexander I, and the Prussian king Frederick William III. Together with Marshal Schwarzenberg, they agreed on an approach to take against Napoleon. This entente was then put into effect during the battle of Lipsko.
The oldest documented settlement of Libice nad Cidlinou dates back to the Bronze Age, but the greatest boom was recorded in the tenth century, when the Slavníkov family ruled. Its members were a thorn in the side of the Přemyslovs, for they were an obstacle to the latter’s expansion and unification of the country. In 995, the Přemyslov took advantage of the lack of military presence in Libice, attacked the settlement and slaughtered the Slavníkovs, of whom only three survived: Vojtěch, Radim a Soběslav – but only because the were not at home at the time of the assault.
Similarly, the history of Poděbrady extends back to prehistorical times, even before the origins of the Czech nation. A lengthy trade route running from Prague to East Bohemia, then further on to Silesia and Poland, made its way through a then-forested landscape interwoven with a dense network of river tributaries. The monarchs who visited Poděbrady included King Přemysl Otakar I, Václav II and Jan Lucemburský. George of Poděbrady (Jiří z Poděbrad) became this town’s most eminent native son in 1458, when he was chosen to be the Czech king. This extremely skilled diplomat was the first European politician to establish a peaceful union of European rulers; by doing so he is considered the forefather of the idea of the European Union.
The most significant year in Poděbrady’s recent history was undoubtedly 1905, when, while looking for drinkable water, a source of mineral waters with excellent curative effects was discovered in a chateau courtyard. The first successful season in the carbonic spas took place in 1908. In Poděbrady, the waters are effective mainly as treatments for ailments of the heart and arteries, as well as diabetes, locomotive system disorders, and are also good for helping smokers overcome their addiction to cigarettes. Poděbrady also offers 12 commercial relaxation and therapeutic programs, a number of which are used by tourists.
The Toušeň Spa was founded in 1868, in the pleasant central Bohemian countryside at the confluence of the Labe and Jizera Rivers 25 km northeast of Prague. A typical procedure for this spa is bathing in sulphuric-ferrous peat from the town’s own deposit. This treats ailments of the spine, of joints, and soft parts of the locomotive system. The spa’s treatment team has achieved excellent results when treating locomotive problems, especially arthrosis, Bechterew’s Disease, and similar ailments.
You can also find other smaller spas in Sadská, where local sources of alkaline – earthy mineral waters are used as natural treatments for circulatory ailments in children.
Cycling and hiking
By nature, Polabí offers first-class terrain for cyclists to enjoy. Its level, sometimes gently rolling countryside offers a superb destination for family trips to, for instance, Čelákovice Fortress, to the fortress in Dřevčice, or to similar monuments in Vyšehořovice. Be prepared for long pleasant walks everywhere in this area.
The Labe River offers another opportunity to do some hiking or fishing. You can take a ride along the river in the King George of Poděbrady (Král Jiří z Poděbrad), an air conditioned tour boat, to the confluence of the Labe and Cidlina Rivers, or to Nymburk.
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